Excerpt from Bergerettes: Romances and Songs of the Eighteenth Century, Collected and Transcribed With Accompaniments for the Piano
In music, as in other arts, the tendency toward that ingenious development of picturesque and attractive detail, which constitutes the charm Of ... the rocom style, had begun, toward the middle of the eighteenth century, to supplant the ideal Of majestic simplicity and the classic sense Of proportion which is the keynote of Lully's Operas, Racine's tragedies, and the architecture of Mansard. This tendency found its happiest expression in the piece chansons Of the great Parisian fairs, the petits chansons tend/es, the pastourelles, romances, and beige/ewes.
Though pastoral songs in name, these beigerettcs are no folksongs, notwithstand ing the fact that Often an Older popular melody, whose heroine was generally a shepherdess very sensible or most complaisant, undoubtedly underlies their more modern development. The simple shepherd air Of'the Middle Ages had, as early as the fifteenth century, found its way to town and court and there lost its primitive simplicity. From the seventeenth century to the dawn of the Revolution, poets and musicians alike conformed to those dictates Of aristocratic good taste which de manded qu'on donne dons [a bergerie - that one go in for the pastoral. As a result, these barge/ems are as characteristic of an age when aristocratic privilege determined the standard Of taste, and a brilliant and polished society stamped every art with the impress Of its own cultured epicureanism, as any Of the canvases Of Boucher or Fragonard. And this despite the fact that in many cases an earlier folksong origin may be presuppose-d.
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